Yesterday, I sat in a room full of strangers and cried. Again. It’s demanding, this therapy lark but especially when that happens. I wasn’t prepared for it. I mean, I knew this group and the gentle group leader, but this lady was new to me – filling in for her colleague. Because of that I didn’t want to talk, take my symbolic clothes off and sit there naked in the circle while she and everyone looked. I sat there, arms wrapped round myself, hoping she was going to move onto someone else. But this lady has a psychotherapy degree and wasn’t having my caginess.
“So you say writing: what sort of writing do you do?”
“Well, not much right now.. but I used to do more.”
“Well I’ve written a book..”
“Really? what about?”
“Um, there’s a novel as well….but the first is about my daughter, who……died.”
“That must have been a very difficult time in your life.”
“Um yes, it was hard.”
…and I told her, and the room of people how it was when Juliette died – how I felt then – how I feel now – what it has meant to me and my family. I couldn’t stop. It was the first time I had talked about Juliette in any detail since I’ve been in group therapy. The more I said, the more I had to say. Having begun I wanted everyone to see her and know her. I couldn’t look at any of them, because I knew there were a couple who were crying too. But I couldn’t stop. It was a painful joy to be allowed to talk.
I think it was good, but I don’t know. I spilled my guts in public when part of me wants to keep her all precious and close to me – not share with people who might not understand – but then yesterday I felt them leap over the gap of understanding for my sake. Depression is a great leveller. I’ve met city men wracked with stress and anxiety, burnt out from 16 hour days, social phobic mothers of drug addicts, women with perfect lives and crumbling souls, and I’ve found when the layers are stripped back we’re all the same – having an averagely hard time at this particular point in our lives. I’m grateful to these people, who are strangers I’m starting to know better than a lot of my friends, for being there and making me feel not so alone. I’m grateful to the people who make it their life’s work to work with the depressed. I’m certain I couldn’t do it.
Today has been different. Today I have mostly been loving and appreciating every atom of my husband and children, and writing about honeymoon destinations in Italy. It’s been good.